"Operation Firefly"

(Original air date 02/01/74)

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Steve teams up with a parapsychologist to search for her missing
scientist father allegedly kidnapped by enemy agents

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Writer: Sy Solkowitz

Director: Reza Badiyi



At the OSI laboratory Oscar and Steve observe a new revolutionary laser ray in action; a contraption devised by Nobel-prized scientist Dr. Samuel Abbott (Simon Scott) using energy generated through a process similar to that of a firefly. Regrettably the inventor cannot receive the accolades he deserves before achieving its completion, which proves rather difficult given his sudden disappearance, presumably kidnapped by enemy agents eager to get their hands on the project.

Oscar suggests teaming Steve with Abbottís daughter Susan (Pamela Franklin), a parapsychologist living in Spain whoís also a telepath. Oscarís confident her E.S.P. can help them locate her father.

           

Unbeknownst to them that the enemy is spying on their conversation through a tiny transmitter concealed in a ratís cage. Le Duc (Joseph Ruskin) then contacts his colleagues with information about the daughterís whereabouts.

           

Steve travels to Spain to find Susan at a local restaurant. She is reluctant to believe Steveís story about her fatherís abduction knowing that she would have sensed it had he been in danger. After much convincing, she agrees to return to her apartment where she tries to establish contact with her father telepathically by using one of his treasured gifts to strengthen the link between the two minds. Her visions of a windy tropical island and rocket launches bring Steve to believe that her father is being held somewhere in Florida.

           

On their way to the airport the taxi driver jams the accelerator and jumps out the car in motion. Quickly Steve opens the door and slows the speeding vehicle with his foot. He then holds it long enough for Susan to step out after which he releases the car that goes crashing at the end of a ravine. It is obvious that someone wants them out of commission.

           

Meanwhile back in Washington Oscar receives a visit from Le Duc who lays out his demand for ten thousand dollars in gold in exchange for the completed laser ray that they now have in their possession.

At the airport, Steve contacts Oscar to relate their little incident and that according to Susanís visions, her father is being held somewhere in the Everglades. Enemy agent Ed Rawlins (Erik Holland) shadows the two very closely.

           

They arrive at their destination where they rent a boat and supplies. Two strangers show up pretending to have been asked by Steveís hired guide to fill in for him. Steve is wary and hires the shackís owner Frank (Joe Kapp) instead.

           

They slowly row down the canal with Susan in deep concentration. Steve spots a lone man sitting on the riverbank with a rifle in hand. Suspicious of his presence, he zooms in on a walkie-talkie sitting at his feet. Once they are out of sight, the man Hobbs (Bill Conklin) reports to his boss that the threesome is approaching.

           

They stop to camp out for the night. Steve confides his fear that trouble might be brewing, which is music to the Indian guide's ears who loves a good fight. During the night, Hobbs, Rawlins and a cohort sneak onto the campsite and start firing at the tents, startling awake the sleepy heads who were wise to hide in the woods. Steve succeeds in stunning them temporarily with a tree branch.

           

When Frank comes to lend a hand he sees his boat on fire. He gets shot in the back while trying to douse the flames. Steve searches for him in the water but in vain.

           

Back at the OSI, Le Duc shows up with an ultimatum. This time he comes with proof that they have Steve Austin in their claws by showing the ID Rawlins stole at the campsite. Oscar has no other alternative but to accede to Le Ducís demand.

While Susan is napping, Steve continues down the canal until he spots a house with men standing guard. He navigates around the site to dock the canoe on a safe bank.

He and Susan proceed circumspectly to the house in question where they find Dr. Abbott. Caught unawares by the surprise visitors he calls for John Belson (Jack Hogan), a supposedly Federal agent whoís convinced him that Steve Austin was sent to kill him for his invention. However Susan has trouble believing their version of the truth.

           

They place Steve on ice down in a cellar where they chain him to a beam. He easily breaks his bond and squeezes out through a barred window to reach the laser ray in order to sabotage the tests scheduled for tomorrow morning.

     

The contraption blows up the second it is activated, thanks to Steveís engineering. Months of work go up in smoke but Abbott is not easily deterred. He asks Belson to return to Washington where heíll work on the problem, but Belson wonít hear of it. He angrily slaps the man in the face and threatens to hurt his daughter should he fail to produce results within the week.

Abbott is shocked to learn that Belson fooled him into thinking he was a Federal agent when all along he was part of the enemy organization.

Steve waits behind the door for the right moment to propel Susanís escort against the wall, instantly knocking him unconscious.

           

Hand in hand they hurry to the house where Steve jumps through the window to get Dr. Abbott out to safety. They run through the woods with Belson and his armed men on their tail.

           

Steve tricks them into falling into quicksand to stop their course while he and his two companions hurry to the canoe to flee the area.

Back in Washington Dr. Abbott deplores his failure and would have been inclined to abandon the project hadnít been for Steveís confession of having tampered with the laser ray by removing a key transistor. Abbott is stunned to learn that Steve is a highly educated scientist and not merely a football player like he originally thought.

           

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